I have had the most fun this year. I no longer have children at home. I no longer have a heavy duty calling in Church. I no longer have a job where I work more at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. This meant I could spend my time partying and I did.
It started with a Christmas Party for my Activity Day Girls. They are a group of girls ages 8-11. We decorated Christmas cards, made Christmas trees out of graduated sugar cookie stars, ate and then had a white elephant exchange. I had a lot of fun and the girls seemed to also.
I attended our ward party and accompanied several musical numbers. Immediately after the ward party, we headed to the stake center to participate in a stake program that was very well organized and beautiful. I accompanied while our ward choir sang and for a quartet's rendition of "O Holy Night". We got to see a live Nativity and see nativity sets. I also was able to sight read and sing in a stake choir presentation.
No more parties until Christmas Eve when we had our traditional Christmas Eve program and a meal. I love this tradition. I think it is my favorite one and yet I spend the least amount of time preparing for it. We eat and then read Christmas stories, sing Christmas carols and act out the Nativity. This year was notable as my son and his family joined us by video chat on the computer and they dressed as the angels as we did the other characters for the nativity. We finish by opening the Christmas cards that we wrote ourselves the previous Christmas Eve and then write another Christmas card for the coming year. It is totally personal and can be anything. I usually do a summary of the highlights of the previous year and a prediction of what I expect to occur in the coming year. Lastly we have dessert and by then everyone is anxious to get away and prepare for Santa's arrival.
Christmas Dinner was at my house too and it was yummy and an easy meal. Everyone attending brought something to help with the meal.
The day after Christmas our extended family had it's traditional White Elephant Party and my husband and I were in charge. We held it at our church building and it was fairly easy to prepare for and it turned out well.
I partied again on Tuesday as several of the Young Women who were in the Young Women's program in 1996 came to my house to eat and open a time capsule from that year. It was fun to see these young women who are mothers of up to 6 and one women who is single and owns her own home. They are not the YW that I knew, but as we talked I realized that these women are wonderful people who are doing wonderful things in their families and in the church. It was wonderful to see them.
When these women left my home, I realized that I had way too many leftovers for us to ever eat them and so I threw a let's eat up the leftover party tonight. The people I invited were all some of my favorite people. Some were able to come, some didn't. It was very casual. We had lots of children running around and people came and went and I think I enjoyed this gathering as much if not more than all the others. It took virtually no time to prepare for and we just sat around and yakked.
This has been a great season and I hope you have all enjoyed it also.